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Friday, 6 December 1935

Senator McLEAY (South Australia) . - Realizing that honorable senators wish to discuss the bill in committee, I shall be brief. Senator Allan MacDonald and Senator Herbert Hays have both asked whether there has been any agitation for the change proposed in this measure. Some honorable senators would have us believe that the only State which desires a change is New South Wales, but that is not so. I suggest that we shall show a poor spirit if, in considering legislation brought before us, we take a parochial view. All legislation should be considered on its merits, and, therefore, this bill should be viewed in the light of its probable effect, not on any one State, but on the butter industry of Australia. Reference has been made to the Agricultural Council which recommended the scheme embodied in this bill. That recommendation was made only on the advice of some of the most expert brains in the several States. The Agricultural Council, having Considered all the facts, and having had regard to the interests of Australia, as a whole, decided on the scheme which is before the Senate in this measure. As reference has been made to the representation of the States on the Agricultural Council, I point out that that body has the benefit of the experience of the experts of the agricultural departments of the States. The representative of the Agricultural Department of South Australia is a man of outstanding ability, and is typical of the men who made this decision. Their object was an improvement of conditions in an important industry. Practical men engaged in the dairying industry are grateful to the Minister and to the Agricultural Council for the assistance rendered to the industry by these experts. Senator Herbert Hays said that the representatives of the dairying industry do not want this change.

Senator Herbert Hays - I said that the dairymen do not want it.

Senator McLEAY - Only to-day honorable senators representing South Australia received a telegram from the South

Australian Dairymen's Association, urging them to support the decisions of the Agricultural Council. That telegram is evidence that the dairymen of South Australia are behind the scheme embodied in this bill. They, however, desire to know why the Government departed from the original suggestion of the Australian Agricultural Council that the controlling body should consist of thirteen members. The dairymen still want that number. If the Minister can satisfy me that a good reason exists for altering the number of members from thirteen to seventeen, I shall support the bill.

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